Hear Jeff Oster interviewed tonight 02/01/2012 on Echoes.
It’s Ambient Electronica Lounge Sounds from Horn Player Jeff Oster
As Echoes September CD of the Month
Until recently, you didn’t hear much trumpet outside of jazz in contemporary music. There’s Jon Hassell, Mark Isham and you’re pretty much done. But lately there’s been a cavalcade of trumpeters with electronic aspirations, including Nils Petter Molvaer, Ben Neill, Giorgio Li Calzi and Arve Henriksen. Jeff Oster should be on that list as well. Until his 2005 debut, Released, he was a journeyman horn player. Now he’s the go-to trumpeter for any number of musicians, including Windham Hill Records founder, Will Ackerman.
With this third CD, Jeff Oster enters edgier terrain with an even more personal sound. Surrender is an album of 21st century lounge music, morphed through soulful melodies, snaky grooves and film noir textures. “All That Matters” establishes the terrain with a swampy rhythm redolent of Jon Hassell’s sound from about 16 years ago, during his Blue Screen phase. Oster smears harmonized and echoing trumpet across the slow groove, intoning a dark, Miles-esque minimalist melody.
With a trumpet sound that seems as if it were blown in Rudy Van Gelder’s studio circa 1958 and then electrified, Jeff Oster has made music for dark nights and rain-swept city streets. But this is thoroughly modern music which is by turns growling, slinky, seductive and trancey. He spaces out completely on “53 Mirrors”, echoing his flugelhorn against a cycle of tuned percussion sounds and swirling, tremulous synthesizers. Oster loves playing these long, legato lines, leaving notes hanging sustained above the firmament like frozen skyways.
While Oster’s previous album, True, featured many guest musicians, Surrender is mostly a two-man show. He’s joined by Bryan Carrigan, who co-wrote all but three tracks and co-produced the album in addition to programming and playing keyboards. The lone signature guest is Diane Arkenstone who goes Donna Summers-breathy on the title track and plays the role of the affirming chorus of Oster’s philosophical musings on “The Voice.”
Jeff Oster might want to leave the lyric and poetry writing behind, but he’s found a personal voice for his horns. While the influences are apparent – Miles, Hassell, Isham – he’s synthesized them into his own mood-evoking music: a dark, smoke-filled lounge of liquid neon and tarnished chrome. Surrender is the Echoes CD of the Month for September.
John Diliberto © ((( echoes )))
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